Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Gaston Browne has called for Tuesday 14th October to be national cleanup and recovery day, following the passage of Tropical Storm Gonzalo over the islands on Monday.
“I am making a call for all Antiguans and Barbudans and residents to utilize Tuesday, 14th October to carry out damage assessments of their offices, both public and private, and businesses and also to engage in a cleanup exercise in order for the nation to be fully back in business by Wednesday of this week,” he said.
The country’s leader, who made an initial assessment of the damage caused by the storm on Monday, said that it exceeded what he had anticipated and there are individuals who will require relief having had their roofs blown off, water damage and other types of damage to their homes and properties.
The Prime Minister said that he has already instructed the Minister responsible for Disaster Management, the Hon. Samantha Marshall to put together a special task force to carry out a swift national assessment to determine the needs of the people. He noted that government is prepared to provide assistance to persons who have suffered extensive damage.
The country’s leader also announced that schools should remain closed on Tuesday to allow education officials, principals and teachers to assess the situation. He was however swift to point out that Tuesday is not a public holiday and that persons should utilize the opportunity to return their businesses and offices to normal.
He also outlined that Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) crews are already out assessing the situation and are repairing downed power lines and poles in an effort to restore power fully to the islands.
Prime Minister Browne reissued a call he made preceding the passage of the storm for persons to exercise extreme caution when using the roads and assessing the damage to their properties.
Following the tropical storm, Prime Minister Browne toured the island including some of the areas worst affected by the cyclone including Parham, where a number of fishing vessels were destroyed, Cades Bay, Johnson’s Point and the Villa and Point communities.
Minister responsible for Disaster Management, the Hon. Samantha Marshall also toured the island and reiterated the call made by the Prime Minister for the nation to come together to make the country fully business operational by Wednesday.